Cross or Crucifix?

myCross If you’ve been following this blog long enough, you may recall something I posted a few years ago about the wooden crosses I used to make by hand. If you’re interested, you can find that post HERE.

The process was tedious, especially using sandpaper to shape each cross after using a coping saw to cut the small piece of wood into a very rough lower case t-shape. But I loved doing it and would probably still be doing it except for the fact it got to be too rough on these aging hands.

I quit making walking sticks for the same reason. I needed (and still need) my hands for other things. Like playing guitar and bass. And keying new novel manuscripts into my laptop.

As a Christian, I’ve long understood the significance of wearing a cross, even though a number of people probably wear them because they simply like the shape. I wouldn’t put it past some people to wear a cross superstitiously–as a good luck charm.

Hmm. Sad.

The cross is an important Christian symbol because it reminds us of Jesus’s crucifixion. I’ve read recently that the Romans didn’t invent crucifixion, but took it to a new level of cruelty. Anyone who watched The Passion of Christ or the ninth episode of The Bible miniseries (or was it the eighth?) got a too-realistic depiction of the way Jesus suffered and died.

One thing I’ve become more aware of over the years is the importance of the crucifix to Roman Catholics. A crucifix, as most of you know, depicts Christ hanging on the cross. I honestly don’t know whether He’s dead yet. There’s something to be said for a reminder of the horrible way Jesus suffered and died to accomplish God’s mission of bringing salvation to mankind.

You may not be aware of this, but Protestants and Evangelicals don’t generally wear crucifixes or value them the way Roman Catholics do.  They prefer to emphasize an empty cross because Jesus’s death as payment for the sins of mankind was only half of His mission. He also came to give eternal life, and the depiction of His death on the cross fails to tell “the rest of the story.”

So a regular cross–an empty one–is a reminder that Jesus’s mission didn’t end there. He had to be taken down and placed in a borrowed tomb. It wasn’t until three days later when the stone sealing the tomb was found removed on the third day and angels announced His resurrection that Jesus began appearing to His followers. Alive again. Human death had been conquered, and the second part of His mission was complete. His Believers now had the assurance of eternal life.

I’ve never seen a necklace depicting an empty tomb. I can’t imagine what one would look like. But the empty cross  and the empty tomb go together like hand in glove.

I have every respect for Believers who prefer to wear a crucifix. Especially if they understand and believe in the whole story.

What about you? Are you a cross wearer or a crucifix wearer? What does it signify to you? How about leaving a comment?

NOTE: Various people have complained about not being able to find or leave comments. Go all the way to the bottom of this post, beneath my “Best regards, Roger.” On the very bottom line of that last section just above the previous post you’ll see “Leave a Comment” if yours will be the first or “X Comments,” where  X denotes the number of existing comments.

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I’ll be back again on Wednesday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the upper right.

Best regards,
Roger

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Something that’s Always Puzzled Me about the Easter Story

As important as Christmas is to Christians–if Jesus had never been born, our Bibles would contain no New Testament–Easter is more important. Christians serve a living Savior, not one whose earthly ministry came to a drastic end when He died on the cross.

The accounts of Jesus’ death and resurrection appear in all four of the Gospels. And they’re told from the viewpoint of the four different writers, each of whom was either present at the time or writing down the account from someone who was.

I’m not bothered by what some people consider inconsistencies.

Rather minor issues, as far as I’m concerned. Like whether one woman or several went to the tomb on Easter morning, only discover that their friend–their Lord–had risen from the dead. And whether the woman or women encountered only one angel or two.

I dare you to interrogate two people who witness the same event and expect them to agree on every detail. Not because they necessarily disagree, but because each one was focused on a different part of what they both saw. In the excitement of discovering that Jesus was alive again, who could blame the Gospel writers for sharing the parts of the story that seemed most relevant to each of them?

Okay, so what is it about the Easter story that has always confused me? The fact that  Jesus was dead three days prior to His resurrection. But if you count the time,  he was in the tomb from late Friday to early Sunday. So He was dead all of one day and part of two others.

Perhaps that shouldn’t be an issue. The important thing–ultimately the most important–is that Jesus was really dead. Agreed?

But wait. The Bible makes a big deal about Jesus being dead three days. The Bible isn’t wrong, is it?

As much as I tried to ignore this question over the years, it didn’t cease to bother me until I read a very interesting article on the Internet. Now don’t get me wrong. I don’t believe everything I read on the Internet any more than I believe everything reported in the news.

But this article was articulate and convincing. So much so I’ve never forgotten the basic idea it presented. When I recently mentioned it to a biblically knowledgeable friend, he said the article was correct.

Some of this may be familiar to you, but possibly not all of it.

Jesus was crucified during Passover week. The holiest of the Jewish holidays. His body was taken down from the cross before sundown so it wouldn’t desecrate the Sabbath. And the Sabbath is Saturday, right? Or actually from Friday sundown to Saturday sundown. So He must’ve been crucified on Friday. “Good Friday,” as it’s commonly known.

Ah, but this article pointed out that the Jews celebrated an extra Sabbath during Passover week. The day before the normal Sabbath. That means Jesus was actually crucified on Thursday and spent Thursday night, Friday night, and Saturday night in the tomb. Two full days, much of a third. Now THAT fits the Bible’s account perfectly.

I can’t tell you how I treasure that tidbit of knowledge. And the next time someone mentions Good Friday to you, just smile at them if you don’t feel like getting into an argument. You know what seems to be the truth now.

What do you think of that? How about leaving a comment?

May each of you have the most blessed of Easter Sundays. And just remember one thing: the Bible doesn’t say anything about the Easter bunny being present at the empty tomb.

~*~

Links you might be interested in:

I’ll be back again on Wednesday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the upper right.

Best regards,
Roger